Nippon teams with Sera on a new global format

Sayako Aoki, sales and licensing, International Business Development, Nippon TV

MULTIPLATFORM entertainment company Nippon TV and Sera Film, one of the oldest independent production and distribution companies in Turkey, have entered a new co-development partnership to create a brand-new international unscripted format for global exploitation. The partnership will combine the collaboration of Turkish storytelling with the creativity of Japanese game shows and the first project in development is a heartwarming studio game-show format targeting family viewers. A pilot episode is currently planned to shoot in Turkey.

Sayako Aoki, sales and licensing, international business development, Nippon TV, said: “Nippon TV has been engaged in great partnerships with Turkish companies for quite a while­ ­­— focusing more on the scripted side — and have always been amazed by their talents in strong, emotional storytelling.” She added: “We are now excited to explore what the collaboration with Sera Film, the company which has previously beautifully produced Turkish version of our format Dragons’ Den, can bring to the unscripted format business. We have already started creative discussions and witnessed the active exchange of lots of new perspectives, ideas, and stories, which we are thrilled to embed into the new format.”


The Ark embarks on European voyage

ELECTRIC Entertainment, the LA-based production, distribution and post-production company, has announced a multi-territory deal with NBCUniversal International Networks & Direct-To-Consumer (NBCUIN & DTC) for its Syfy U.S. original television series The Ark. The territories include Syfy in France, Spain and Portugal and SciFi in the Balkans and Poland.

In addition, NBCUIN & DTC has also licensed Almost Paradise (Season 2) for Universal TV in Africa, 13TH Street in France, Spain and Poland, and Diva in Romania and the Balkans. Leverage: Redemption (Season 2) has also been picked up for Universal TV in Africa.

Leverage: Redemption (Electric Entertainment)

Ordered straight to series for 12 episodes by Syfy in the US, The Ark takes place 100 years in the future when planetary colonization missions have begun as a necessity to help secure the survival of the human race. The series is currently filming in Belgrade, Serbia.

Sonia Mehandjiyska, head of international distribution, Electric Entertainment said: “We have three TV series in production, practically simultaneously. We believe The Ark, Leverage: Redemption and Almost Paradise all have universal appeal, and that this is just the beginning of these series’ worldwide distribution.”

Lee Raftery, managing director, Europe, Middle East & Africa, NBCUniversal International Networks & Direct-To-Consumer added: “Both Almost Paradise and Leverage: Redemption have proven extremely popular with our audiences. We look forward to delivering the second seasons as well as introducing The Ark to science fiction fans across Europe.”

Fuji deal takes FilmRise deeper into the world of Anime

FILMRISE, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, has secured a second deal with Fuji Creative Corporation, the distribution arm of Fuji Television Network, covering the North American and Latin American rights to six popular anime shows.

The deal follows the two companies’ existing partnership that has taken Fuji TV’s Iron Chef to global audiences, and now gives FilmRise the AVOD and FAST streaming rights to classic anime titles Flame Of Recca; Ghosts At School; GTO; Key: The Metal Idol; Thermae Romae; and Battery, for distribution on the FilmRise Streaming Network’s Anime Channel and app.

Fuji’s Francois Grosjean, (left), with FilmRise’s Emilia Nuccio, Melissa Wohl and Max Einhorn

“We are really happy to close our second deal with FilmRise as we believe there is a strong demand for anime worldwide, especially in North America,” deputy director global business at Fuji Creative Corporation, Grosjean, said.

“Studies show that anime drives viewer growth on subscriber platforms, so why shouldn’t it do the same on an ad-supported platform?,” Max Einhorn, senior vice-president, acquisitions and co-productions at FilmRise, said. “And the fact that we’ve released a specialist app for anime fans means that we’re covering as much surface area as we possibly can.” 

Doc reveals truth behind Michael Jackson’s menagerie

CONTENT creation, funding and distribution company, Bossanova Media, has announced its first deals to mark its MIPTV debut. C More Entertainment in Sweden has acquired Searching For Michael Jackson’s Zoo for its channels across Scandinavia, along with RTL Netherlands.

Produced by UK factual and formats indie Rare TV, the independent documentary is a primetime commission from ITV that looks at the fate of the exotic animals kept at Neverland Ranch. Searching For Michael Jackson’s Zoo airs on ITV this month and is a co-production between Rare TV and Freshwater Films. The film sets out to discover what happened to the menagerie that Jackson acquired from captive breeders and animal poachers around the world.

Tatjana Kostovski, senior sales manager at BossaNova, said: “Searching For Michael Jackson’s Zoo is a noisy, edgy show, just what the buyers are telling us they need.”

Caption: Tatjana Kostovski (left) and Paul Heaton of BossaNova with Maria Liden of TV4/C More Entertainment

At its peak, Jackson’s private zoo hosted 124 exotic animals, including zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions, tigers and his famous pet chimpanzee Bubbles. Following Jackson’s death in 2009, the zoo was dismantled and the animals dispersed. The film reveals that the star’s reputation as an animal lover masked a disturbing truth: that not only was Jackson largely indifferent to his animals’ welfare but that many of the creatures in his care were neglected and maltreated.

CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution unveils Cannes roster

THE LICENSING department of Canada’s national public broadcaster, CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution, is part of the Canada Pavilion at MIPTV. “We couldn’t be more excited to be returning to MIPTV in-person this year,” director of global distribution, CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution, Gwen Jones McCauley, said.

Gespe’gewa’gi: The Last Land (CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution)

The MIPTV catalogue from CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution focuses on non-scripted titles. “From cutting-edge science to never-before-seen natural wonders, and groundbreaking current and historical events; we have captivating content for all audiences,” Jones McCauley added.

Highlights include two new science documentaries — Ice And Fire: Tracking Earth’s Climate Crisis (1 x 52 mins) and The New Human (1 x 52 mins) — and the new factual entertainment series Gespe’gewa’gi: The Last Land (13 x 22 mins), which offers an inside perspective on the Indigenous commercial fishing industry.

India and Mexico team on Spice Trails series

INDIA’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) and TelevisaUnivision from Mexico are at MIPTV to announce their new co-production, an international 4K travelogue series, The Spice Trails: Latin America.

TelevisaUnivision’s Carlos Murguia

“I am confident that the series will capture the imagination of audiences around the world, allowing them to vicariously travel and experience these exotic lands,” Sunita Uchil, executive vice-president, ZEE, said. “Our mission at ZEE is to produce quality shows like this, which have a universal appeal and serve the ever-growing market demand for exciting and engaging content.”

Zee’s Sunita Uchil

TelevisaUnivision executive producer Carlos Murguia added: “Even though we have produced many series before, Eduardo [Murguia, executive producer] and I are particularly excited with this series. Spice Trails: Latin America really captures the essence of Latin America from a very different angle. We hope that this is just the beginning of many more co-productions between ZEE and TelevisaUnivision.”

The Spice Trails: Latin America (12 x 30 mins) travels through Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina, to discover spices and explore the influence of spices on local culture, economy, cuisine and traditions.


Planete+ orders Munich Olympic feature doc from Pernel 

CANAL+-owned platform Planete+ has ordered a feature documentary from Pernel Media exploring the Israeli hostage crisis that shocked the world during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

Coinciding with the event’s 50th anniversary, Munich: Of Games And Blood, has been created by writers Philippe Saada and Yossi Melman and cinematographer Marc Dugain. It retraces the tragedy with modern narration – looking at the initial attack and Israel’s revenge.

The story is narrated by three protagonists present at the event: a terrorist, a member of the German police, and a Mossad agent. By combining this 360° point of view, with archive, testimonies and revelations from declassified documents, the film shines a new light on a massacre.

The project was commissioned by Planete+’s Christine Cauquelin, head of documentaries, Canal+ Group. 

Sphere unveils new global brand identity in Cannes

SPHERE, the Canada-based content production and distribution company, has unveiled its new corporate brand at MIPTV. In practical terms, the brand rationalisation will see all the group’s specialist units rebranded under the Sphere banner. Sienna Films, BGM and GO Films will become Sphere Media, which will oversee the creation, production and distribution of all television content. Oasis Animation and Sardine Productions will become Sphere Animation, while WaZabi Films, which distributes feature films, will become Sphere Films.

Bruno Dubé, Sphere’s president and CEO, said: “This new brand identity strengthens our ability, locally and internationally, to create, produce and distribute content that touches people’s minds and hearts and reflects the world in which we live. Identifying the right story and delivering it in the right way is our promise. Whether we are working with our in-house creators or collaborating with partners, what drives us at Sphere is getting ideas off the ground, telling stories and finding the right audiences to tell them to.”

Sphere’s president and CEO, Bruno Dubé

Sphere’s output includes documentaries, feature films, drama series, game shows, magazine programmes, variety shows, major television events, 2D animation and digital projects. Among its international scripted hits are Transplant, Cardinal, The Porter and Sort of — the last of which has recently been confirmed for a second season and is going into production in early May. Its French-language drama successes include Les Honorables, psychological thriller Aller Simple, Cerebrum and Une Autre Histoire.

Sphere’s factual returners include Haunted Hospitals, game shows Les Petits Tannants and Génial! and variety show Belle et Bum. In children’s content, its stand-out titles include recent TVOKids commission Riley’s Rocket and award-winning series Backyard Beats and Gabby’s Farm.

Dandelooo in animation deal with France Télévisions

FRENCH animation production and distribution company Dandelooo has signed a deal with pubcaster France Televisions for the award-winning series Jasmine & Jambo. Nominated for Quality in Children’s TV Worldwide at Prix Jeunesse International and winner of the Best International Series at the Festival Ecran Jeunesse, the 2D animation series bursting with musical notes and humour is produced by Barcelona-based audiovisual production company Teidees, and Televisio de Catalunya.

Jasmine & Jambo

Jasmine & Jambo is an original show all about music directed by Silvia Cortes, co-founder of Teidees, and targeted at both upper pre-schoolers and parents. Also, on board to bring music to kids’ ears, are Canadian kid’s educational networks TFO and Knowledge, RTS in Switzerland, ARTE Editions in France and UR in Sweden. With the growing popularity of the series, Dandelooo announced that Season II has started production and will be available in the fourth quarter of 2022.


Paramount greenlights Helium’s girl-band drama

PARAMOUNT Australia and New Zealand has greenlit Helium Pictures’ Paper Dolls for Network 10 and Paramount+ Australia. Set in the year 2000, the eight-hour drama follows the rise and fall of girl band Indigo.

As the manufactured band achieves stardom, the girls’ connection with each other evolves from reality show competitors to confidants. But their secrets threaten to tear the band apart, especially the machinations of one extra ambitious member who seeks to implode the group and get vengeance on the record label that wronged her.

Indigo is produced by Helium’s Mark Fennessy, who said: “Paper Dolls is a driven drama with a female-led creative team. It is defined by its unique mix of fun and edge – equal parts gritty and aspirational.” 

Executive vice-president and chief content officer, Paramount Australia and New Zealand, Beverley McGarvey, said Paper Dolls is “a captivating and engaging series. With a sensational cast, the story will enthral audiences.”

WarnerMedia goes for more girl power

WARNERMEDIA Kids & Family EMEA has acquired broadcast rights to TeamTO’s original action-comedy animated series Jade Armor (26 x 22 mins). The deal follows a previous WarnerMedia Kids acquisition of the maverick martial-arts series for the US and Latin American markets.

Under the terms of the new deal, the show will join the kids and family line-up on HBO Max and Cartoon Network in EMEA later this year. Zia Bales, lead acquisitions, partnerships and co-productions, Kids EMEA, WarnerMedia said: “Jade Armor’s central character Lan Jun is the embodiment of girl power — a female superhero balancing her newfound responsibilities with the demands of teenage life.

WarnerMedia Kids – Jade Armor

We’re excited to bring this strong female-lead to EMEA, broadening our appeal with girls and demonstrating our commitment to European content.” 

Jade Armor features a talented all-female creative team. It is produced by TeamTO with broadcast partners in France, France Télévisions, and in Germany, SuperRTL.



Studio 100 and ZDF partner on Pash brand

INDEPENDENT studio for kids and family entertainment Studio 100 Media and ZDF Studios (ZDFS), the commercial arm of one of Europe’s largest broadcasters, have joined forces to offer kids and family programmes on Amazon Prime Channels under the channel brand Pash.

The collaboration will kick off in the UK, Italy and Spain, with further territories in the planning. The programming line-up from the companies’ extensive catalogues will include well-known series and kids’ brands including: Maya the Bee, Mia and Me, Heidi, Peter Pan, H20 and Find Me In Paris.

The Pash brand, created by ZDF Studios, is a new international brand that aims to provide high-quality entertainment to children of all ages, in various languages and across multiple territories.

Studio 100 Media’s Mia And Me

Fred Burcksen, president and CEO, ZDF Studios, said: “Studio 100’s programmes perfectly complement our programming offering, allowing us to provide a great experience for kids around the world.”

Martin Krieger, CEO of Studio 100 Media added: “Combining highlights from both our line-ups with successful brands and much-loved classics allows us the opportunity to create a very appealing proposition. We look forward to extending this collaboration to further countries soon.”

NRK commissions Leonard Cohen drama

BUCCANEER Media and Redpoint Productions have been commissioned by Norwegian state broadcaster NRK to produce new drama series So Long, Marianne. Buccaneer is the London-headquartered TV production company behind scripted series Marcella, Crime and Whitstable Pearl.

Redpoint is an Oslo-based production company currently developing projects based on bestselling books by both Jo Nesbo and Lars Kepler, as well as original content. NRK has commissioned the English/Norwegian language series for Norway and retains the rights to distribute the series in Scandinavia.

Oystein Karlsen of Redpoint

So Long, Marianne is based on the extraordinary lives of two very normal people, Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen. It’s an intimate story of two people, where one of them happens to become one of the most famous singers of all time.

“We look forward to announcing the cast in the very near future,” Buccaneer Media joint CEOs Tony Wood and Richard Tulk-Hart said.

“It feels like the way the world is right now, a series that celebrates life and love, with a core about finding your way in life, is needed more than ever,” said series creator, Redpoint’s Oystein Karlsen.

FuturumKids in Cannes to talk pre-sales

A TEAM from FuturumKids, which includes global head of sales Brendan Kelly and CEO Francis Fitzpatrick, is at MIPTV to discuss pre-sales and L&M partnerships for the company’s newest pre-school series Ling Ling. The series is now in pre-production at Futurum’s studios in Las Palmas, Spain, and is the story of a panda newly arrived from Shanghai at Tavistock’s International School for Animals in London.

Ling Ling (FuturumKids)

Meanwhile, Futurum’s first pre-school series, Paddles — already seen on Cartoonito UK and Ireland’s RTE — is scheduled for the Stan streaming service in Australia thanks to a deal brokered by Monster Entertainment, which was appointed in early 2021 to handle global television sales for Paddles, excluding Korea. The company is exhibiting a new line of Paddles-inspired NFTs. These will be on sale on NFT platforms immediately after MIPTV. Paddles (52 x 11 mins) is about a polar bear cub accidentally delivered by the stork to a frozen River Shannon in Ireland – and brought up by a pack of Irish wolfhounds.

FuturumKids is also highlighting new projects, including a UK children’s book property that the company will develop into a pre-school series later this year.

Brendan Kelly, head of sales at FuturumKids, said: “Pre-school entertainment is a more popular and competitive area of kids’ broadcasting and streaming than ever.”



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About Author

Julian Newby is editor in chief of MIP Publications, namely the MIPTV/MIPCOM Previews, daily News magazines and supplements. He is also co-founder of Boutique Editions, a UK-based publishing and design house providing products and services for the international film, TV and creative communities.

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